Health authorities have been alerted to the increase in cases of the especially contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus as restrictive measures were further relaxed on Thursday with the decision to allow mask-free movements outdoors, while on Monday the final restrictions on movements are set to be lifted.
A total of 29 cases of the Delta (“Indian”) variant have so far been detected in the country, something that was expected to happen given the fact that it has already spread around the globe.
Out of the 18 Delta cases announced yesterday, 15 were located in Crete (the others in western Attica, Thessaloniki and at country entrance points).
In response to the concerns, a video conference was held with the participation among others of Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and Sotiris Tsiodras, epidemiologist and head of the Greek government’s Covid-19 health committee.
The meeting agreed that emphasis will be placed on the effort to promote the message that vaccinations are imperative and that the inoculation program is proceeding smoothly, given the warning issued by scientists of the increased risk faced by unvaccinated people in view of a fourth wave of the pandemic.
“The Delta variant of the coronavirus will prevail in the coming months all over the world, so great care is needed in our country, especially in the populations of the unvaccinated, in children and in those who are immunosuppressed and have not acquired immunity after vaccination,” said Elias Mossialos, professor of health policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The president of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, said the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain in Greece by the end of August. “Those who are not vaccinated are at risk,” he continued, adding that the specific strain is 50-60% more contagious.
“In order to get through the summer, we must be vaccinated,” he added.
On an optimistic note, Greece’s epidemiological picture is still improving, which also explains the easing of most restrictive measures.
More specifically, EODY reported 489 new cases and 15 more fatalities from Covid-19. Just over 95% of fatalities were among patients with underlying health problems and/or over the age of 70.